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SOC 103 (199)

Lecture #9 – Social Inequality

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Course Code
SOC 103
Kelly Train

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Lecture #9 – Social Inequality July 25, 2012 1. What is Class? - Not an entity, but a relationship - When Marx talked about class, he talked about your relationship to the means of production - If you sold your labour for a wage – you were working class - or proletariat according to Marx - This was subject to change, and not just upwardly, but downwardly - Class isn’t about your income, it is about your relationship to the means of production - Owners have financial security whereas anyone who sells their labour for a wage has no job security 2. Symbolic markers of social inequality - Even though the vast majority of people sell their labour for a wage, we still live in a capitalist society and it all depends on your access to resources - You are of higher value if you have a greater access to resources - Class, gender, race are all factors that determine how people treat you - People want to be seen as having great access to resources, especially those who don’t have access - In a capitalist society, it is taboo to disclose your wage to others – your boss depends on this because this allows them to underpay everyone - The whole purpose is to prevent your employees from unionizing and asking for better wages - Symbolic markers: o Car, House, Clothing, Jewelry, Purses, Furniture o Social network, Charity events, Club memberships, Neighborhood, School, Restaurants, Groceries o Leisure activities (Golf, Tennis), Vacation, Winter/summer residence – other estates, Technology, Security, Nanny/housekeeper, Kids (School, After-school programs, Clothing, Wedding), Occupation, Pet, Plastic/cosmetic surgery, Hair/mani/pedi, Financial planner, Art 3. Theories of social inequality a. Religious discourse - In the feudal era, people believed that the reason people were wealthy was because they were lucky, they were born to the right people b. Liberal ideology - Liberal ideologies are order theories - For biological determinists, they would argue that the reason you are wealthy is because you have good genes - Liberal ideology – explains in differently than biological determinism. Says the same thing, but uses different explanation. o Uses meritocracy o There is nothing about you particularly that makes/breaks you, but YOU are the problem/solution o Also known as “Blame the victim” ideology o Emphasis is on the individual because everyone is born equal, so you have to work hard to make it o “Merit”orcracy – to earn - Concept of the race – LI says that everyone has equal opportunities – but the concept that everyone starts at the same place is itself flawed c. Marxism - The Marxist critique is that the idea of equality is a fallacy - Race, class, and gender operate to deny people access to resources 4. Social mobility in Canada - Intragenerational (arrow up) o In your own lifetime o Since 1862? o Point system makes sure that you are a professional, you have money, you will be able to pay the landing fees o They go from being middle class to working class…? - Intergenerational (arrow down) o Over 2 or more o New immigrants that were coming starting 1880s from eastern Europe, were
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